chapter  6
48 Pages

Relative Deprivation and Political Protest 1

ByKarl-Dieter Opp, Peter Hartmann, Petra Hartmann

Relative Deprivation (RD) is perhaps the most widely used single concept in explaining political protest, particularly political violence. The concept of RD is closely connected with frustration-aggression theory. Theoretical links between RD and political violence are in most cases provided by the frustration-aggression hypothesis proposed by Dollard and colleagues. Frustration-aggression theory states that the strongest instigation, aroused by a frustration, is to acts of aggression directed against the agent perceived to be the source of the frustration. The occurrence of any specific act of aggression depends on the expected costs of that act: “the strength of inhibition of any act of aggression varies positively with the amount of punishment anticipated to be a consequence of that act”. Feelings of RD might only be intensified by a widening of existing gaps between expectations and achievements but also by the occurrence of general changes in achievements.